Mindful moment… At Christmas, less is more
When I was about 16 my mum cancelled Christmas presents. Dad was sick, money was tight and anyway, we were spoilt brats as far as she was concerned. "It won't hurt you to do without, for once," she said.
We didn't believe her; we took it to be a new version of the annual lecture about how she only got an orange in her day. But sure enough, on Christmas morning, there was no presents. Not a one. We screamed and sulked. She held her ground.
What started out of practical necessity soon developed into a full-blown stand against consumerist Christmas. Twenty years later we don't do presents in our house and far from being a source of misery, it's a source of joy. Every year I look at friends spending money they don't have, on things people don't need and I think they are bananas. I look at figures about credit card debt amassed and I think "this is wrong".
Mum was right - we have all been manipulated into an orgy of spending that doesn't make anybody happy. Maybe its time for more of us to make a stand - not necessarily one as extreme as my mum's, but maybe we can make the decision to buy one less thing this year. To spend more time with your children, rather than buying for them. Take it from this spoilt brat, it won't kill them to do with less. Quite the opposite.
* Marianne Power is the author of helpmeblog.net